There’s nothing better than hitting the open road in your favorite ride- unless you have a bunch of loud, distracting noises in the cabin, that is. That might be why one of the most common questions our customers ask is, “How do I remedy rattling windows/wind noise?”. And we’ve got the answer.
Window rattles, and then consequently wind noise, can come from any of your door or quarter windows or even tailgate windows that roll up and down. Here are some common culprits and fixes for those pesky noises:
Culprit 1. Beltline Weatherstripping
Beltline weatherstripping has many different names- window sweeps, window fuzzies, window felts, cat whiskers, window moldings- no matter what you call it, the function is still the same: they are long strips of either fuzzy material or rubber mounted onto the top of the door (where the window rolls down into the door) on each side of the glass. They sandwich the glass holding it in place and sweep the window to keep dirt, debris, and water out of your door.
These are very important not only for preventing window rattles but also to prevent rust on the body of your vehicle. If these are hard, brittle, or even breaking apart and missing in places this could be causing your problem.
Beltline can be very specific to your year/make/model/style of vehicle so order carefully. They are bent, shaped, and cut to match the top of that door exactly and depending on the vehicle, there can be several different options- no-bead, chrome-bead, black-bead, flat-bead, special-bead, fuzzy lining, rubber scraper, etc.
We offer hundreds of different sets for many different vehicles. However, if you still can’t find any direct fit parts for your ride, you can always order lengths of beltline weatherstripping and cut, bend, and shape it yourself. It’s a labor of love but it will do so much to protect the body of your car, make the cabin quiet and give your windows a finished touch that will make it look amazing.
Installing beltline weatherstripping is relatively easy. Some vehicles have clips that your direct fit parts will slide right onto. Others won’t have clips and you can use staples, rivets or even urethane adhesive to glue them on. Use clamps to hold them in place for 24 hours until the adhesive is fully cured.
For more on how to bend and install beltline weatherstripping check out our handy how-to videos on the subject!
Culprit 2. Run Channel
Run Channel has several different functions:
- Guides and protects glass
- Prevents window rattles
- Gives glass a smooth surface for movement
- Gives window openings a finished look
There are several different types of Run Channel- the right one(s) for you depend highly on the type or age of the vehicle you’re working on. There are some that are OEM style replacement parts (pre shaped and cut to size) as well as universal run channels that work on so many different makes and models.
Flexible (metal) run channel
These are made with a flexible steel spine, cloth covered, and mohair lined. Flexible run channel is made to bend to form to the shape of the window frame for a custom fit and flawless look.
It comes in a variety of styles- rubber backed, black bead, chrome bead and in several different channel sizes and lengths.
Rigid Run Channel
Made of steel and mohair lined. Rigid run channel is just that- rigid. It’s meant to be installed vertically and guide window glass up and down in the door.
In vehicles with rigid channel behind the vent windows, there are a few variations of the set up. Some vehicles have one continuous channel from the top of the vent window, down into the door. Some have 2 different channels that split right at the beltline- one that’s meant to be installed above the beltline (to guide the window when it’s all the way rolled up) and one that’s meant to be used below the beltline (to guide the window when it’s rolled down inside the door).
Rigid Run Channel also comes in several different styles- with a chrome bead or without and in various channel sizes and lengths.
To install these Flexible or Rigid Run Channels, you simply push them into the frame around the window or into the back side of the vent window frame. You can use screws or rivets if you’d like but they’re normally not necessary. Most channels are just held in with pressure.
Auto manufacturers got away from using these metal-based Flexible and Rigid Run Channels in favor of rubber run channels in the 1960’s.
Rubber Run Channel
This type of channel is made of electrostatic flocked rubber. Like the other channels, they come in many different profiles and several different lengths. These channels have been used in vehicles now for over 60 years. They’re the type of channel you’ll still find on modern cars.
To install, remove the door panel and old run channel. Roll the window all the way down and push the new rubber run channel into the track that’s built into the door frame around the window. Use a plastic tuck tool to help with this. When you get to the part where the channel goes down into the door, just line up the rubber run channel with the track built into the door and tuck in as much as you can. Roll the window up and that will give you access to tuck in the rest of it. Roll the window up and down a few times to make sure everything is seated properly.
For more on how to bend and install run channel check out our handy how-to videos on the subject:
Culprit 3. Anti-rattle pads/bumpers.
These small parts inside your door can make a big difference for window rattles. They’re felt covered pieces of metal (or in some cases rubber) that bolt onto the inside of the door and rest right up against the glass to help hold your window in place while it’s rolled down.
If one of these is failing, or missing altogether, the window can rattle and even fall out of place when it’s rolled up and down.
Replacing these is pretty straight forward- you’ll need to remove the door panel to access them and they just bolt on about 4-6 inches below the beltline on the inside of the door.
Inspecting and refreshing these elements of your windows is great maintenance for any vehicle. With Steele Rubber Products, some time in the garage, and a little elbow grease, you’ll have a quiet, leak free ride to enjoy whenever you like.
Steele not only has all the products you need but all the knowledge you need to get the job done right, too. If you have questions about Rubber Parts or Weatherstripping on your Classic Car, Truck or Hot Rod feel free to reach out to us! You can call us at 800-650-4482, contact us through our website or comment on this post and we’ll get you answers as quickly as possible. Check out our YouTube channel for our full library of how-to/installation videos.
Steele Rubber Products, located in Denver, NC, is a manufacturer and seller of high quality rubber parts and weatherstripping products for classic and vintage automobiles, hot rods, RVs and Boats. Steele offers more than 12,000 parts for American made cars and trucks as well as a large line of universal weatherstripping and rubber parts to be used on any project. Established in 1958, Steele is a trusted name in the automotive restoration industry.
Raeia is the marketing assistant on the Automotive team and she manages the social media, sponsorship program and the blog. She doesn’t have a favorite car, but especially likes things that are beautiful, fast and loud!